You’d think having a dealer car website would be easy. Just buy a domain, get a website, add your inventory, and then you’re done.
That should be it – right?
Well, it just so happens it’s not really that simple.
It would be nice if it was.
However, like most good things in life, it takes effort to see a rewarding outcome.
A dealer car website is the online equivalent of a store front. The industry phrase is “Online Showroom”. It might be easier to picture this store front is inside your local mall. People are walking by your store, and you want those people to walk in. What will make them stop and give you the time-of-day?
What will make that customer walk into your store?
To start with, you need to spark their interest. What cool thing is being displayed behind your glass storefront window? What neat things are happening inside your store? Will they be curious enough to come-on-in?
Now imagine an online shopper visiting your website.
Will your website pique their curiosity?
You only have a short time to capture their attention before they move-on. Remember, people don’t just end up on a site like yours. They are looking for a used car.
Doesn’t that sound a lot like a qualified lead?
A successfully executed website for dealers does three things to drive leads:
- Grabs customer attention
- Piques their curiosity and keeps their attention
- Makes them want to get more information/attention from you
This attention can be by phone, email, an online form, starting a chat, or sending a text.
So, where do you begin?
Well, the first and most important thing you need to do is make sure that your website looks amazing on mobile devices. The industry term for this is having a “mobile-first” website. Google demands a lot from a website in order to rank well, the primary one being that the website needs to be designed specifically for mobile. Of course, you want your site to look good on other devices, but mobile devices take priority.
Mobile-first websites, by their very nature, are easy to navigate. So, the next super important quality you want to maintain in your used car dealer website, for sure, is for it to be easy to navigate. There is an industry term that defines what it means when a website is not easy to navigate, and this is called “friction”.
Anything inside your website that is confusing or takes attention away from your message will only result in visitors leaving.
Another criteria by which Google will judge your website is by how long it takes to load on a mobile device. This is a great benchmark to stay on top of in general, since the longer it takes for your dealer car site to load the higher the risk there is of the customer leaving. This is referred to as “Bounce”. You don’t want your website visitor to bounce.
You’ve probably experienced this yourself. If a site you visited took too long to load, what did you do? You left.
The next order of business is to make sure getting a hold of you is easy. These are the most critical channels of communication:
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Contact Form
People love to text. Period. Make this a priority to have on your website. It is also a proven fact that customers are more responsive to communicating by text than any other means.
Let’s move on to pictures. As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words; such a cliché right? Well, it is very much the case when it comes to selling a pre-owned car (along with almost everything else). Not only do you want to make sure your inventory is online and easy to shop, you also want to make sure there are a lot of high quality images (HD Images) to see.
Incorporating high quality HD images means that when your customer zooms in, all the vehicle details will remain crystal clear and not grainy. You never know which image will be the one that wins you a new customer. So take a lot of pictures both of the exterior and interior.
Speaking of pictures, a great place to show these pictures is on Instagram.
This takes us to the second-to- last suggestion; make sure you have an Instagram account and make sure you use it. People love Instagram. Did you know Instagram is owned by Facebook (just an FYI)? Anyways, Instagram is made for high quality images.
Make sure you learn about hashtags. A quick explanation is that a hashtag (#), followed by some short description, is a great way of tagging your vehicle when you create the content for your post. For example, if you had a 1992 Toyota Supra for sale, when you posted that used sports car, you might add “#usedsportscar and/or #usedsupra and/or #usedtoyotasupra and/or #lowcostsupra and/or #lowmileagesupra”…etc.
Now, anyone searching for #usedtoyotasupra will have your post in their search result.
Lastly, be descriptive. Customers love seeing all the ins-and-outs of the used car they are interested in. This is the story that reinforces all those great pictures. It keeps things exciting.
These suggestions are all “customer facing”, nothing here is focusing on what it takes to get your customer to your website in the first place. That is another blog entry.
Here is a recap of the seven important talking points:
- Easy to Navigate
- Your Dealership is Simple to Contact
- Take a lot of High Quality (HD) Images
- Use Instagram
- Be Descriptive